The Public Information Act
The Texas Government Code, Chapter 552, gives you
the right to access government records; and an officer for public information
and the officer’s agent may not ask why you want them. All government
information is presumed to be available to the public. Certain exceptions may
apply to the disclosure of the information. Governmental bodies shall promptly
release requested information that is not confidential by law, either
constitutional, statutory, or by judicial decision, or information for which an
exception to disclosure has not been sought.
Rights of Requestors
You have the right to:
Prompt access to information that is not
confidential or otherwise protected;
Receive treatment equal to all other
requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements;
Receive certain kinds of information without
exceptions, like the voting record of public officials, and other information;
Receive a written statement of estimated
charges, when charges will exceed $40, in advance of work being started and
opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement;
Choose whether to inspect the requested
information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information or
A waiver or reduction of charges if the
governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits
the general public;
Receive a copy of the communication from the
governmental body asking the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on
whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions,
or if the communication discloses the requested information, a redacted copy;
Lodge a written complaint about overcharges
for public information with the Texas Building and Procurement Commission.
Complaints of other possible violations may be filed with the county or
district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a
state agency, is located. If the complaint is against the county or
district attorney, the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney
Responsibilities of Governmental Bodies
All governmental bodies responding to
information requests have the responsibility to:
Establish reasonable procedures for
inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of these
Treat all requestors uniformly and shall
give to the requestor all reasonable comfort and facility, including
accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements;
Be informed about open records laws and
educate employees on the requirements of those laws;
Inform requestors of the estimated charges
greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates above 20 percent of the
original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts the charges, has
amended the request, or has sent a complaint of overcharges to the Texas
Building and Procurement Commission, in writing before finalizing the request;
Inform the requestor if the information
cannot be provided promptly and set a date and time to provide it within a
Request a ruling from the Office of the
Attorney General regarding any information the governmental body wishes to
withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling, or a redacted copy, to
Segregate public information from
information that may be withheld and provide that public information promptly;
Make a good faith attempt to inform third
parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the
Respond in writing to all written
communications from the Texas Building and Procurement Commission regarding
charges for the
information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding
complaints about violations of the Act.
Procedures to Obtain Information
Submit a request by mail, fax, email or in
person according to a governmental body's reasonable procedures.
Include enough description and detail about
the information requested to enable the governmental body to accurately
identify and locate the information requested.
Cooperate with the governmental body's
reasonable efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested.
Information to be Released
You may review it promptly, and if it cannot
be produced within 10 working days the public information officer will notify
you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available.
Keep all appointments to inspect records and
to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the
opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested.
Cost of Records
You must respond to any written estimate of
charges within 10 business days of the date the governmental body sent it or
the request is considered automatically withdrawn.
If estimated costs exceed $100.00 (or $50.00
if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full time employees) the governmental
body may require a bond, prepayment or deposit.
You may ask the governmental body to
determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general
public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges.
Make a timely payment for all mutually
agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances
exceeding $100.00, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional
requests from you.
Information That May Be Withheld Due To An Exception
Request an Attorney General opinion and
state which exceptions apply;
Notify the requestor of the referral to
the Attorney General; and
Notify third parties if the request
involves their proprietary information.
Failure to request an Attorney General
opinion and notify the requestor within 10 business days will result in a
presumption that the information is open unless there is a compelling reason
to withhold it.
Requestors may send a letter to the Attorney
General arguing for release, and may review arguments made by the governmental
body. If the arguments disclose the requested information, the requestor may
obtain a redacted copy.
The Attorney General must issue a decision
no later than the 45th working day from the day after the attorney general
received the request for a decision. The attorney general may request an
additional 10 working day extension.
Governmental bodies may not ask the Attorney
General to "reconsider" an opinion.
To Request Information...
To request information from this governmental
body, please contact:
Reatta Minshew, City Secretary.
You may send your request
By mail to: P.O. Box 248, Sweeny, TX 77480
By e-mail to: email@example.com
By fax to: 979-548-7745
In person at: 102 W. Ashley Wilson Road, Sweeny, Brazoria County, Texas
For complaints regarding failure to release
public information please contact the Brazoria County District Attorney at:
You may also contact the Office of the
Attorney General, Open Records Hotline, at 512-478-6736 or toll-free at
For complaints regarding overcharges, please
contact the Texas Building and Procurement Commission at 512-475-2497.
If you need special accommodation pursuant to
the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), please contact our ADA coordinator,
Reatta Minshew at 979-548-3321.